Federal officers arrested the roommate of suspected Charleston, S.C., shooter Dylann Roof on Thursday and unsealed charges against him on Friday.
Joseph Meek, 21, is accused of concealing his knowledge and making false statements about Roof’s alleged massacre of nine people in a historic African-American church earlier this summer.
The charges, which are felonies, carry maximum sentences of a total of eight years n prison.
Meek lived with Roof in the weeks before his alleged shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June, along with Meek’s two brothers, mother and girlfriend. The Washington Post profiled the family and their seeming indifference to Roof’s alleged killings in a story that appeared over the weekend.
According to the three-page grand jury indictment unsealed by the Justice Department on Friday, Meek initially told the FBI “that he did not know specifics of Dylann Roof's plan to shoot individuals” during Bible study at the church in June.
However, “in truth and fact, as Meek then and there well knew, Meek’s statements and representations denying such specifics were false, fictitious and fraudulent when made,” the indictment alleged.
According to The Post story from this weekend, Roof told his roommates that he planned to “do something crazy” in the days before the shooting. Then Meek hid his gun but later gave it back, believing that he was merely speaking out of a drunken rage.
“I didn’t take him seriously,” Meek said, according to The Post’s report.
However, as soon as Meek's girlfriend saw the news alert on her phone, he thought immediately, “He did it.”
He claimed to have called the police once he saw surveillance images from the shooting on TV.
Roof was arrested the morning after the shooting and has been charged with nine counts of murder and other charges. His alleged white-supremacist manifesto, which was published online after the shooting, appears to claim that the massacre was committed out of a desire to start a race war.
State prosecutors are committed to seeking the death penalty.